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Staff Picks: Music

Graffiti on my Heart

In high school all my friends listened to Led Zeppelin. I did not. My response to the repeated plays of “Black Dog” or “Stairway to Heaven” was at best a semi-polite head bang or two. I truly had no objection to the iconic rockers, but I was not going to actively listen them on my own Walkman.

Flash-forward 25 years later to discover that my 14-year-old daughter has become a HUGE fan of Led Zeppelin. Over the past year, the soundtrack to our ride to soccer practice has been filled with many tracks from Physical Graffiti, the recently re-released album (Available on Hoopla) that was remastered by Jimmy Page. Considered by many to be the greatest Led Zeppelin record of all time, Physical Graffiti contains my three favorite songs from the band that all reside on Side Two - “Houses of the Holy,” “Trampled Under Foot” and “Kashmir.” Songs which my daughter also loves (but considers “Kashmir” overplayed) and considers some of her favorites (her list is much longer than mine).

As I reflect upon not only this album, but also the band, it makes me happy to think that a band I had never found a way into, has become one of the important markers in my life. I will always be able to recollect the times my friends and I were driving all over the back country roads of my hometown listening to Robert Plant’s distinctive wail at high volumes. Now added to the list is the memory of hearing my daughter intelligently discuss the guitar riffs of Jimmy Page while transporting her through the events that are shaping her young life.

There was a time in my music-loving life that I would not have even thought of mentioning Led Zeppelin as a favorite band. After listening to the entire Physical Graffiti, I will now admit that the beauty, artistry, and sound of this masterpiece deserves a place in my permanent collection. The memories it will evoke have certainly have collected a permanent space in my heart.


One of my favorite things is a good musical and when I was a kid, I was obsessed with Disney's, movie musical, Newsies. I mean, I knew every. single. word. This past weekend, I finally saw the broadway version and it was lovely, despite some totally improbable plot twists. Of course, I came right back to the library and borrowed the cd from our collection.  Now I can relive the entire experience through my headphones. I love our musical and soundtrack collections at KPL! Between our cd's and digital options like Freegal and Hoopla, we have so much great music to enjoy! 

A Love Supreme Turns 50

Saxophonist John Coltrane’s legendary composition A Love Supreme was released 50 years ago. By 1965, Coltrane’s profound experimentation with improvisation and the increasing influence of Eastern and Middle Eastern spirituality resulted in one of his most memorable works, a piece of jazz that melds together the hard bop of the late 1950’s with the daring, anarchic dissonance of his late 1960’s free jazz. The entire song can be found on the The Classic Quartet: Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings along with many other of Trane's groundbreaking catalog. 

Autumn Leaves

Soon, many of us will pick up our rakes and blowers so as to clear away the descending leaves from our lawn. I also find that I tend to listen to more jazz when the weather begins to cool so it got me thinking about the classic song Autumn Leaves, a jazz standard that has been performed by hundreds of musicians over the years. It's a great song that evokes the kind of nostalgic longing that seems to fit perfectly with the season for donuts, apple cider and the turning of the leaves. Here's a version from pianist Keith Jarret:  A more recent version from actress Emmy Rossum:  One of my favorites by the great French singer Edith Piaf:

A Contender for Best Album of the Year

Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly is likely to end up on many critics' best-of lists. Since the album’s release, it has been universally praised for its genre-expanding results and deconstructionist approach, mashing together a wild mixture of R&B-tinged hip hop, Beat poetry, and social protest. It can sound a little busy in parts but when it comes together as in the hit song King Kunta, Lamar has tossed the envelop aside, giving listeners something original rather than simply pushing it forward.

Depression Cherry

While it doesn’t exceed the overall excellence of their previous album Bloom, Baltimore duo Beach House’s newest release Depression Cherry keeps their string of well-crafted, fuzzy, dream-pop albums going strong. Fans of groups like My Bloody Valentine, The Cocteau Twins, Washed Out, and Wye Oak will definitely be interested. The album is also available to stream at

Leon Bridges

If you enjoy the retro sounds of 1960’s soul and rhythm and blues that artists like Alabama Shakes, Raphael Saadiq, Amy Winehouse, and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings have kept alive and fresh, check out the debut album by the young singer Leon Bridges, a guy that you can bet has listened to a few Motown and Sam Cooke records over the years.

Stream or Download via Freegal

Freegal is your access to free downloaded music from the Sony Music catalog. A streaming option has now been added to their catalog. Download 5 of your favorite songs each week or listen to a full album by streaming (5 hours/week). Visit our Download page on the KPL site for more information and helpful links to our other digital services.

One of the most buzzed about jazz albums of the year is Miles Davis at Newport: 1955-1975, the Bootleg Series Volume 4. Our compact disc copy will be here soon but if you don't want to wait, stream this extraordinary portrait of one of jazz's most important innovators which includes performances with legendary collaborators John Coltrane, Paul Chambers, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk and Julien "Cannonball" Adderley. 

Favorite Albums of 2015 So Far

My co-worker Kevin posted his favorite music of the year several weeks back and now I'm following up with my own. I know of a certain band called Beach House whose newest release will likely end up on my list come 2016 but for now, here goes:

Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
Bryan Ferry, Avonmore
Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear
The Tallest Man on Earth, Dark Bird Is Home
Leon Bridges, Coming Home
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Miles Davis, Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4
Tame Impala, Currents
Jessica Pratt, On Your Own, Love Again
Ariel Pink, Pom Pom
Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2


I’m not sure where I first learned about the Portuguese music of Fado. It’s an acoustic-based music that developed around the early 19th century with sorrow and lament at its emotional heart. We’ve added a few titles that introduce the exploratory listener to an array of older and contemporary artists who passionately tap into themes of mourning, life on the sea and the difficulties of life.

The Rough Guide to Fado
Fado de Lisboa
Legends of Fado
Fado Tradicional